The 22-year-old prospect turned over in late 2016 with a larger degree of spotlight than most new to the game pros. His punching power was a thing of amateur folklore whilst Belfast’s biggest fight name Carl Frampton was one of many backing him to tear things up.
‘The Croc’ remained somewhat deliberately unassuming, but six successive knockout wins only fueled the hype brigade.
However, things have quietened down for the Ray Ginley-trained prospect since he went the distance with nightmare journeyman opponent William Warburton and spent a nine-month period out with niggling injuries – which also forced the Sandy Row welter to withdraw from a BBBoC Celtic title fight with Martin Harkin.
The emergence of the likes of Sean McComb and Steven Donnelly saw the prospect spotlight shared while Crocker sizzled on the sidelines.
The big punching youngster’s demeanour suggests he is only too happy to get his early work done under the radar, but he is confident 2019 will be so productive and busy that come the end of the year he will be the name on peoples’ lips once again.
“It just takes one or two fights to get that back,” he told Irish-Boxing.com when queried about the hype fading somewhat.
“I am not worried about the hype or anything like that. At the end of the day it’s all about the result. So hopefully I will get four fights by the end of the year and I am sure the hype will be restored.”
Crocker has the chance to impress again as he trades leather with Jumanne Camero, a notably game English fighter with a winning record that has taken rounds off some good prospects and caused a few upsets, at the Ulster Hall this Friday night.
The Belfast boxer admits it’s the toughest test of his career to date, but it’s a challenge he is relishing.
“Definitely, that is what I want,” he responds when asked if the #MTKFightNight bill will play host to his hardest pro fight yet.
“I want someone who comes to fight and comes to win and I am really looking forward to it. It is my toughest opponent definitely. He will be game and I will be game.”
There were some who chose to read into the fact Crocker went the distance the last time out. However, those fans overlooked the opponent in the away corner. William Warburton is a journeyman with the ability to cause major upsets when in the modd and he is rarely dominated and hurt in the manner which Crocker dominated and hurt him.
Reflecting on that fight, the Queensberry prospect revealed he was happy to get the rounds in and was deliberately cautious against the most awkward of opponents.
“It was handy doing [the six rounds]. People thought I was just going out there with no boxing ability and I was up against a guy who takes rounds off people. I was happy enough to cruise and not look stupid on the big stage.”
“I knew how awkward he was and I was just looking to get the rounds.”
“I had him a few times, but once I was going for it he used a lot of experience. I just used my composure and stayed focused.”
Friday ends a wait for nine months for a fight for Crocker – and he also has a June 21st date pencilled in.
In that time he saw a potential breakthrough fight with Harkin fall through, but the young puncher is mature enough to take things in his stride.
Crocker correctly notes that time is on his side and also suggests it may happen later in the year – and when it does, he takes solace from the fact he will be more experienced.
“I wanted to be out sooner and this was the next date for me so that was it I am back in work.”
“I am over it,” he adds regarding the Harkin fight.
“I am only 22 and I have plenty of time that fight could potentially happen this year and think he is fighting at the end of the month. So a couple more camps, a couple more fights and more experience and the fight will definitely happen again.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)